Saturday, 16 July 2011

July

 We ignored the prolonged bad weather of winter 2010/11 and created a new ride to give views of the pond. It will do for the time being but needs to be widened. Some of the spindly  birch has been cleared around the sallow to create better conditions for this to thrive in the planned ' willow grove'. There's some regeneration along the ride edge and in the birch clearing, though  regrowth might have  been eaten by deer. There's some improvement along the road edge and at the sunnier end of the ride as a result of Sue's determined bracken control .

The species list numbers over 200,   mammals, birds, plants, lichen, fungi, grasses - though many insects and moths have still to be identified. The kingfisher didn't  appear again after the winter, and although a single great crested grebe was seen earlier in the year, there has been no breeding this summer.  No sign of the white admiral butterfly either. It is not clear if this is because they have been absent, or just been missed. Perhaps  rideside clearing has destroyed some  honeysuckle they use as a foodplant, although there is  still plenty of it growing  in shady locations next to the ride edges.

Sightings: A  group  of newly fledged birds including most of the tits,  young nuthatch, (with much duller plumage than their colourful parents) , and a family of treecreepers. Blackcap and chiffchaff were singing in the wood, rather surprising ,   as the wood lacks the shrubby growth they prefer.
A  grass snake on the ride,  sidling away rapidly up the bank . A short distance further on,  the loud  screeching of jays, which continued for some time before  3 emerged from the pines in pursuit of a tawny owl, whom they had disturbed from its roost.  Over the willow grove,  a small bank vole emerged from the scrub to explore nearby  logs  holding  a piece of bread in his paws and Roe deer,   more attractive than fallow deer, redder and springier.